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Do You Know? Sun’s Magnetic Field Is 10 Times Stronger Than Actually Believed

However, they are still responsible for the confinement of the solar plasma, which make up solar flares, as far as 20,000 km above the sun's surface.

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Sun
Sun's corona extends millions of kilometres above the surface, measuring 1,400,000 kilometres across -- 109 times larger than Earth -- and 150,000,000 km from Earth. Pixabay

The sun’s magnetic field is 10 times stronger than previously believed, finds a study which can potentially change understanding of the processes that happen in the sun’s immediate atmosphere.

The study found that the sun’s corona extends millions of kilometres above the surface, measuring 1,400,000 kilometres across — 109 times larger than Earth — and 150,000,000 km from Earth.

“Everything that happens in the sun’s outer atmosphere is dominated by the magnetic field, but we have very few measurements of its strength and spatial characteristics,” David Kuridze, research student at the Aberystwyth University.

storm
These solar flares can lead to storms which, if they hit Earth, form the northern lights – the Aurora Borealis. Pixabay

Using the Swedish 1-m Solar Telescope at Roque de los Muchachos Observatory, La Palma, in the Canary Islands, Kuridze studied a particularly strong solar flare which erupted near the surface of the sun on 10 September 2017.

Solar flares appear as bright flashes and occur when magnetic energy that has built up in the solar atmosphere is suddenly released.

“This is the first time we have been able to measure accurately the magnetic field of the coronal loops, the building blocks of the sun’s magnetic corona, which such a level of accuracy,” Kuridze said.

Earth
Earth and caries information about the magnetic field, and limitations in the instrumentation available. Pixabay

Until now, successful measurement of the magnetic field has been hindered by the weakness of the signal from the sun’s atmosphere that reaches Earth and caries information about the magnetic field, and limitations in the instrumentation available.

The magnetic fields reported in the study are similar to those of a typical fridge magnet and around 100 times weaker than the magnetic field encountered in an MRI scanner.

However, they are still responsible for the confinement of the solar plasma, which make up solar flares, as far as 20,000 km above the sun’s surface.

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These solar flares can lead to storms which, if they hit Earth, form the northern lights – the Aurora Borealis.

They can also disrupt communications satellites and GPS systems, the researchers noted.
(IANS)

 

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Chinese Researchers Spot Monster Black Hole Bigger Than Sun

Chinese team spots monster black hole which is 70 times bigger than Sun

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Black Hole
A team of Chinese scientists spotted a black hole that is 70 times larger than the sun. (Representational Image Only). Wikimedia Commons

A team led by Chinese researchers has spotted a monster black hole with a mass 70 times greater than Sun — toppling the earlier assumption that the mass of an individual black hole in our Galaxy is no more than 20 times that of Sun.

Our Milky Way Galaxy is estimated to contain 100 million stellar black holes — cosmic bodies formed by the collapse of massive stars and so dense even light can’t escape.

The team, headed by Professor LIU Jifeng of the National Astronomical Observatory of China of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (NAOC), spotted a stellar black hole with a mass 70 times greater than the Sun.

The monster black hole is located 15 thousand light-years from Earth and has been named “LB-1” by the researchers in a paper reported in the journal Nature.

“Black holes of such mass should not even exist in our Galaxy, according to most of the current models of stellar evolution,” said LIU.

“We thought that very massive stars with the chemical composition typical of our Galaxy must shed most of their gas in powerful stellar winds, as they approach the end of their life. Therefore, they should not leave behind such a massive remnant,” he explained.

Spotting black hole
The monster black hole is located 15 thousand light-years from Earth. (Representational Image Only). Wikimedia Commons

Until just a few years ago, stellar black holes could only be discovered when they gobbled up gas from a companion star.

The vast majority of stellar black holes in our Galaxy are not engaged in a cosmic banquet, though, and thus don’t emit revealing X-rays.

As a result, only about two dozen Galactic stellar black holes have been well identified and measured.

To counter this limitation, LIU and collaborators surveyed the sky with China’s Large Sky Area Multi-Object Fiber Spectroscopic Telescope (LAMOST).

After the initial discovery, the world’s largest optical telescopes – Spain’s 10.4-m Gran Telescopio Canarias and the 10-m Keck I telescope in the US – were used to determine the system’s physical parameters.
The results were nothing short of fantastic: a star eight times heavier than the Sun was seen orbiting a 70-solar-mass black hole, every 79 days.

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The direct sighting of LB-1 proves that this population of over-massive stellar black holes exists even in our own backyard.

“This discovery forces us to re-examine our models of how stellar-mass black holes form,” said LIGO Director Professor David Reitze from University of Florida in the US. (IANS)